Samuel Johnson observed that ‘when two Englishmen meet their first talk is of the weather’. The weather is a safe, polite and impersonal topic of conversation. Today you will learn real facts and some common beliefs that people have about the weather in Britain. You will also learn what to say in this or that weather. Moreover, you will get acquainted with some idiomatic expressions that contain words related to the topic under discussion.
What a scorcher!
It must be minus 2 today!
It’s teeming down!
Reproduce the following paragraph enlarging it with the information from the table. In the table you should match common conversational openers with the appropriate weather type.
People often say that the British talk about the weather all the time. This is an exaggeration, but it is certainly true that the weather is a good way to start a conversation with a stranger. If your climate was as variable as Britain’s, you would certainly talk about the strange changes too! The weather is a neutral topic of conversation which is very useful when visiting Britain. But you should know what to say. In cold weather you can start a conversation with the following phrases: ‘…’ When the weather is wet… And when it is hot….
I like a bit of sun, don’t you?Nice day, isn’t it?What a miserable day, isn’t it?I’m boiling!It’s drizzling.Brr, it’s freezing, isn’t it?What a scorcher!It must be minus 2 today!What terrible showers we’re having!It hasn’t snowed like this since 1963!I’m soaking through!It’s bucketing!It’s teeming down!
Read the text about the British climate (the handout). Sum it up and use the weather maps for additional information.
Read the following BBC weather forecast for this week. Select the necessary facts, highlight the main tendencies and think of the peaces of advice you could give the inhabitants of the Midlands. Make up a forecast of your own (a less formal one). E.g. “It will be showery and breezy on Monday, so don’t forget to put on a warm jacket in the morning… Heavy showers are expected throughout the whole territory; take care to take your umbrella with you… Thunderstorms can take place, so don’t leave your pets alone if they are afraid of them…But by the weekend…etc.”
Weather Forecast for the Midlands
Monday 18 May 2009 to Sunday 24 May 2009 – “Warmer, drier and more settled.”
Low pressure is expected to be centred near to the United Kingdom throughout the week, although it will weaken and drift northwards.
The start of the week will be showery and breezy (with some longer-lasting rain bands in circulation around this low centre. As a result, it will be cooler than the 14C to 17C average by 2 or 3 degrees.
The combination of low pressure and the strength of the sun will generate showers, so if you do catch a shower you can expect it to be heavy and thundery.
The trend is for fewer showers and less wind, more sunshine and therefore more warmth from Thursday.
Any showers soon dying out with most places having a sunny end to the day. Overnight, it should remain dry with clear spells and southwesterly winds should continue to ease.
Most places will be dry with sunny spells and it will feel much warmer than recently in light southwesterly breezes with London perhaps feeling very warm by afternoon.
Outlook for Thursday to Saturday
Max: 17°C - 18°C
Rather changeable with sunshine and a few showers on Wednesday and Thursday, then Friday should be mostly dry and quiet with more in the way of sunshine.
There are several idioms in English that contain such words as ‘weather’, ‘wind’, ‘rain’, etc. Match the expression with its meaning. Provide your own examples with the idioms. Work in pairs.
e.g. “ ‘In all weathers’ means ‘in all kinds of weather’. For example,.. ”
1. in all weathers
having moods that alter rapidly, opinions that vary from one moment to another
I ride every day to work in all weathers.
2. nice/lovely weather for ducks
whatever the weather is like; in any case
“Nice weather for ducks,” said Jim when he arrived at last, soaking wet.
3. (as) changeable as a weathercock
rainy weather, esp as a sarcastic comment with the meaning ‘What a rainy day!’
If you’re going to London, go – and if you’re not, stay at home. I can’t make any plans with you as changeable as a weathercock.
4. (in) fair (weather) and/or foul
in all kinds of weather (be out, fly, sail, work, deliver sth.)
It must be carried out in all conditions of weather and climate; in rain, snow, ice, mud, fair weather and foul.; It’s not everybody that would stick by a man through fair and foul as you have.
5. be three sheets in the wind
a light amount of wind, a little breeze
Captain Cuttle looking, candle in hand, at Bunsby more attentively, perceived that he was three sheets in the wind, or, in plain words, drunk.
6. a breath of wind
begin to breathe smoothly again after a period when one’s breathing has been irregular or heavy; become active again after a period of little activity
They are so helpless that a breath of wind can knock them down!; Waiting, waiting, we were waiting for a breath of wind to lift the kites into the sky.
7. get one’s second wind
be very drunk (a sailing boat with sheets (=ropes) fully loosened on all 3 sails cannot be kept on course)
After two hours we could hardly walk another step, but we got a second wind as we neared home.
8. go/run/be like the wind
an incident, rumour, expression or opinion, etc that indicates how a situation may be developing, what changes are planned or happening
She's very slight in build and she can run like the wind.
9. see etc. which way the wind is blowing
move very fast; pass very quickly
I think we ought to talk to other members of staff and see which way the wind's blowing before we make any firm decisions.
10. a straw in the wind
to see how a situation is developing before you make a decision about it
There were one or two straws in the wind yesterday that suggested an offensive was imminent.
11. (as) right as rain
when one bad thing happens, a lot of other bad things also happen, making the situation even worse
I'll be as right as rain as soon as I take my pills.; Cheer up, everything will be right as rain soon.
12. come rain, come shine
whatever the weather is like; whatever happens
Come rain, come shine we all meet here about 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.
13. it never rains but it pours
in good health; as it should be
First of all it was the car breaking down, then the fire in the kitchen and now Mike's accident. It never rains but it pours!
14. (as) pure as the driven snow
How dare he criticize me? He's not exactly as pure as the driven snow himself.
15. (as) white as snow
His hair and beard were as white as snow.
Here are some excerpts from the book by Kate Fox “Watching the English. The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour” which will provide you with more information about the way people in Britain treat the weather. Single out the things that are peculiar, the rules of behaviour one must follow discussing the weather. Give comments.
Comment upon the statements.
· Wherever you go, the weather is, without exception, exceptional.
· If you can see the French coast, it means that it is going to rain; if you can’t see it, then it’s already raining.